Mark Reason: The Sporting Misnomers of 2013

19:55, Dec 17 2013
Valerie Adams
STAR OF THE SHOW: Kiwi shot put sensation Valerie Adams.

The impertinence of Christmas Day to fall on a Wednesday means that the Misnomers from 2013 are brought forward a week. So apologies to Trent Boult if he should run the 100 metres dash in 9.56 seconds, unleashed by Brendon McCullum. It's quick, but not quick enough to make this year's awards.

Sportswoman of the Year - Valerie Adams

Oh God, not again, you may say. But hang on, Valerie has not won a coveted Misnomer before. And she is so good that the Zutons wrote a song about her immortalised by Amy Winehouse - although word to lyricist, Valerie hasn't got ginger hair.

Adams was unbeaten in 13 events this year and is also a member of Family of the Year, with brother Steve getting signed up to the NBA. Call that being role models to the kids of New Zealand. Sorry, but my son and daughter are not freakily exceptional physical beings. How can they aspire to be in the Adams Family? Can't you just be more normal?

Well done, Lydia Ko. A victory in her second pro event and second in the Evian, as well as two other titles, were huge achievements, but the majors were a learning curve. The young woman was phenomenal, again, but not quite as phenom as last year.

So Adams takes it along with her fourth consecutive gold at the world champs, the first woman to win four individual golds. Shamefully she did not win the IAAF award which was given to a woman who comes from an island where they do things to make people run very fast and whose athletes have started failing drugs tests.

Why don't you come on over, Valerie, and claim your award of cake and fine wine?

Sportsman of the Year - Scott Dixon

The perceptive among you will notice that this award is listed second, but that's because Adams, Lauren Boyle and Ko (note the asinine play on words) outdid the blokes. In some quarters this will be seen as a blow for sisterhood, women's rights and the feminist dialectic. We say, New Zealand sportswomen did pretty well this year.

And the blokes didn't go badly either. Andrew Nicholson - no, not the pushy, tall bloke at the Orlando Magic of the same name - had a good year after some other Kiwi's horse was done for doping. You wouldn't think they would serve a horse at a pharmacy, but maybe Clifton Promise pulled a long face and the white coats felt sorry for him.

Kieran Read came so close to his first Misnomer. The man was magnificent as an All Black and his performance in the classic at Ellis Park really will go down in history. But the Crusaders again couldn't take the Super 15, despite having clearly the best team, and so that just cost Read his Misnomer.

And so the award goes to Scott Dixon, a bloke who drives round and round in ovals for a living. Dixon won his third Indycar title after being nowhere halfway through the season. He puts his neck on the line year after year - Dario Franchetti broke his back and ankle in a crash this season - and now lies seventh on the list of all-time winners, just behind a bunch of Unsers.

Dixon overcame an overheating radiator packed with assorted household litter in his final race, a row with officials, a bloke called Helio Castroneves, who sounds like some sort of sun god, and a posse of Americans who think that New Zealand was founded by Zorro.

Team owner Chip Ganassi said, ''These guys never give up. They don't know how to give up.''

Dixon just said, ''Sweet.''

He may live in Indianapolis, but he is still talking like a true Kiwi. I wonder if he is any good at reversing into a parking space.

Team of the Year - The All Blacks

In global terms Red Bull's F1 team may have shaded it, in local terms the Chiefs came mighty close again, but the first perfect season in the professional era - however flaky the opposition and however dodgy the final victory - just gets the ABs over the line. Hurrah. 

Captain of the Year - Richie McCaw

The old dog holds on to his Misnomer. Despite the coach's adulation, McCaw is not quite superman on the pitch any more, but off the field he is Southern Man, hard, unyielding and shrewder by the day. Craig Clark came close and the Chiefs will find his leadership hard to replace. And Jimmy Spithill may live in Auckland, but we couldn't give a Misnomer to an Aussie, not while the Ashes are on - or now off.

Coach of the Year - Dave Rennie

Steve Hansen and Guy Wilson were deserving, but Rennie has beaten better teams through transforming a culture and tactical innovation. Whoever gave the Chiefs a chance of back-to-back titles two years ago?

Chump of the Year - Ricki Herbert

Oh, Ricki-Tikki-Tavi. This time the mongoose lost. The Mexican snake won. No shame in that. The shame was in not taking responsibility. The shame was in blaming the players.

Comeback of the Year - Oracle

We can't give a Misnomer to a Yank or an Ocker but we can give one to an inanimate object, particularly one designed and built by a load of Kiwis. In fact this award is for all the New Zealand design geniuses who made two boats fly. You took our breath away. Can we have it back now, please, cos we are all getting a nasty choking feeling.

Cheat of the Year - Oracle

Well, they are not really cheats, apart from that dodgy stuff with spigots and stability augmentation systems. Now, Jamaica are cheats and they are in the process of getting busted for not-cool running. But it feels much better to call Oracle cheats, particularly as we don't like software billionaires - cheats, cheats, cheats.

Strange isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives.

Merry Christmas.


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